May 03, 2013 | Post by: mnanda001 2 Comments

A Girl Can Dream….

There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is the ability to believe in yourself   and while doing that ….dream BIG! As I shared before, that’s the greatest lesson I want to impart on my children….I want them to fully believe in themselves because it is my belief that when a person believes in themselves this often means this person feels loved, respected, understood and thus can love, respect, empathize and give back the best of themselves to the world.  Along with believing in myself and dreaming BIG I want to be an example for my children to follow your passion and having a strong work ethic.  Speaking of work ethic, ironically let’s talk vacation for a bit.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took a vacation to Sonoma, California without the kids.  (A little shout out to the grandparents is necessary….Thank you to my wonderful in-laws for watching our kids and loving them with your whole heart! We enjoyed our time together to the fullest because we knew our little people were with you.)  With that said, our time together was absolute perfection for so many reasons–great wines, fun wine enthusiasts all around, perfect weather, beautiful scenery, good food,  pool time and just time to put our feet up and relax (literally!).

{Relaxing at Lynmar}

See my husband is a consultant and is gone Monday – Thursday almost every week not to mention he works his a– off.  (excuse my language) Thank goodness he enjoys his work, but both of us needed some time off to unwind, relax, re-charge our batteries and just be “Rich and Maya” together.

I enjoy wine very much and have learned a lot about wine over the years (that I love wine even more ha-ha), but Rich is a huge wine guy and planned our itinerary from the hotel, winery visits, to lunch spots, picnics at wineries to fabulous dinners each night.    Among many things,  Rich is an amazing vacation planner.  His focus for this trip as it relates to wine (for the most part) was to focus on tasting more elegant, subtle wines vs. the fruit forward wines.   I thought I’d share some of our itinerary (at the end of this post) so maybe you can all benefit from Rich’s planning as much as I did!   It was a good balance of exploration, learning and tasting, yet relaxing!   (I should try to share his wine tasting notes someday too!)

{Rich’s tasting notes}

Pictures say a thousand words so here’s just a few from our trip.

 {View at Joseph Swan Winery}

{View at Unti Winery}

{Cellar Tour at Ridge}

{100+ year old vine at Ridge}

{Copain Winery}

{View at Unti Winery}

{Tasting at Copain}


{Dinner at Farmhouse Inn.  Relaxing at Farmhouse Inn in their front yard before dinner.}

{Picnic Lunch at Rochioli}

{Setting up for wine tasting at Copain Winery}

{Purple Irises at Merry Edwards.  Sauvignon blanc to die for.}

{Wild flowers at Littorai}

{Tasting at Copain}

{Tasting at Wind Gap.  Don’t you just love those old wooden doors in the background?}

{Lunch at Willie’s}

{Pool side before dinner}

Back to dreaming and dreaming BIG!  I knew this trip was going to be amazing for all the reason listed above and I knew it would provide inspiration for what I do every day in my design work.

However, the one thing that surprised me more than ever is the real, tangible feeling I have that this is where Rich and I will live someday.   At first I put it out there kind of half kidding saying that Rich and I in 20 years will retire in Sonoma , CA.  Rich would  work at a winery and I would drink wine.  Ha-ha!  Maya in her la-la dream world again and we all just smiled and moved on with or lives.   However, the more I thought about it the more real and authentic it feels.   And why not I began thinking?!   I love living in Chicago and it’s the perfect place for us now, but why couldn’t we retire in Northern California some day?  Rich could  follow his passion for wine in some capacity and I could garden year round and start an organic edible garden (from which Rich would cook with everyday of course!).

This “Ah-ha moment” occurred to me during our visit to Littorai Winery  (my favorite winery visit and wine during this trip) which is known for sustainable, biodynamic farming.  Here’s some pictures of their property….

{Compost pile}

{Chicken Coops!  Can you tell I’m a city girl…taking pictures of chicken coops!}

I was amazed at their philosophy of making wine and how they care and use the good of the land…that everything in nature has it’s purpose…. permaculture.   For those of you who know me well,  I’m not big on everything being organic (actually far from it) and hardly one to ‘work the land’ (I live in the City!), but I’ve always loved to garden and I was amazed at what Littorai was doing to make their wine….and thus my obsession over the past couple of weeks was reading about organic gardens.   I’m enchanted and inspired by these organic garden renderings and pictures.

{via design by The BrownStoner}

{via project by Edible Organic Gardens}{via permaculture design by Edible Organic Gardens}

{via Mt. Tamborine Organic Garden}

Amazing, eh?  So today and forever I’m going to keep dreaming (and learning about editable organic gardens!).

So tell me, what are you dreaming about?

Until next time….keep dreaming….


(As I end this post my thoughts are with Northern California and all the wild fires they’re dealing with now.)

As promised a glimpse of our itinerary….

We stayed in Healdsburg at the Hotel Healdsburg... a modern, rustic and charming boutique hotel in the Square.  Even the side staircase is charming (Free Bike Rentals)!

Winery Visits:  (My top 4 visits were Littorai, Ridge, Wind Gap and Copain.)

Friday, 4/19: Forestville

Wind Gap

Joseph Swan

Saturday, 4/20 Sebastopol



Merry Edwards

Sunday, 4/21 Healdsburg, Dry Creek





Dinner Spots:

Scopa, Healdsburg

Farmhouse Inn, Russian River Valley

Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg



2 Comments to A Girl Can Dream….

  1. Erin Csicsila
    May 4, 2013 4:05 am

    Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures. Tom and I just moved into our new house and I have 3 garden boxes in our back yard. I now have more visions after looking at your blog.
    I always look forward to your posts- you’re full of wonderful ideas and wisdom. Thanks for sharing!

    • mnanda001
      May 4, 2013 10:05 am

      So glad you enjoyed this post. Congrats on your new home! I’m so excited for you and love that you already have 3 garden boxes to explore and have fun in! That’s awesome!

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